Saturday, October 13, 2018

My 2018 search for Henry Tufts’ grave in Limington Maine

or A narrative of the travels and sufferings of genealogist Tom Tufts to find dead people no longer residing at Lemington in the district of Maine as compiled by himself.

 I’m just poking some fun at Henry Tufts and the long title to his tell-all book of 1807. Finding Henry’s grave seems as hard as finding the truth in his book. My Henry Tufts story

It was a frustrating search to locate the old graves in the cemeteries in Limington. The more modern Tufts families are buried there in Elmwood cemetery and Highland cemetery and some are recorded on the findagrave website. Others are listed with the local library and Historical society.

These graves were immediately to the right when we pulled in the entrance to the cemetery. How often does that happen? I usually spend hours wandering around looking for stones. These need just a little straightening of the foundations and minor cleaning.

Wallace E Tufts. Veteran of World War I, is remembered with two stones.

There is an old cemetery out behind Simeon Tufts’s old home on Tufts Lane off Doles Ridge Road presumably where the Tuftses established themselves after leaving Lee, New Hampshire. The cemetery is overgrown and only a few stones are visible. Those of Alice B. (1863), Herbert J.  (1880), Charles A. (1878), and James Tufts (1841) are upright and in good shape. There are two barely legible worn-down stones of Polly Tufts and possibly George Miller. It is likely that Henry Tufts and his wife Lydia were buried there, although I have found no record of their burial. They are recorded as living there in the 1820 and 1830 census. Their death dates could match either of these two cemeteries. The cemetery at the old Tufts home has no definite border and part of it is sunken and slopes toward a wet area. It would require extensive archaeological work to prove anyone else is buried there. Some stones might be discovered but would most likely not have legible inscriptions. Henry’s father’s cemetery in Lee, New Hampshire is in similar condition. Ground penetrating radar might prove there were burials there but would not provide proof that any grave might be that of  Henry Tufts. That is fine with me. We wouldn’t want the land owners to be bothered by any Jim Morrison-like grave groupies.
Tufts plot

In much worse shape than the Tufts cemetery was one we found further down the Doles Ridge Road. I was looking for one described in early records as “To the right of Randall Cushing’s place going towards Edgecomb’s Bridge.” The record also has penciled in “with #94 Doles Ridge Rd.” and two Tufts were supposedly buried there (Mary and Simeon listed below). (The #94 is a reference to the previous cemetery on the list not the cemetery’s street number address.) 

 I looked along the road down the hill from the Tufts house and my copilot spotted an old graveyard in a horse paddock on Doles Ridge Road and sure enough there are Goves listed in #94. Another record from the Limington Historical Society contact also noted in an old cemetery listing as “near together” which means that I may have been in it or that it extends beyond the horse pasture into the next house lot.

The owner was nice enough to show me the cemetery in the paddock and said he had never looked at it himself. I was horrified. The horses were ruining it. They left manure and knocked over stones for sure, there was only one left standing. If you are a descendant of Eddie Dole (1879) or Paulina Gove, or these Tufts, it would be good to approach them and see if at least they can fence it off. After a little research it seems there is a Revolutionary soldier John Gove buried there. I do recall the resident saying there was a soldier there. Maybe that will help get this place preserved. Please forward any information on local Veterans groups as they may help as well.

Toppled stones of Eunice,  Eddie A. Dole, and Patriot John Gove.

Throughout this country many old family cemeteries lie in disrepair in the woods or in people’s yards and fields. I think the disrepair is a shame but understand the magnitude of finding and fixing them all. I wish I could just fix them all up myself but don’t have the time. Henry Tufts senior’s cemetery in Lee is unkept. I have also written about the East cemetery in Belfast, Maine which probably holds some of the first settlers of Belfast and is in bad shape. I guess it will fall to local volunteers or land owners who care enough to find the time. Join or help the Maine Old Cemetery Association if you can. From what I see they do wonderful work. There is an old Brackett cemetery on Doles Ridge Road in the other direction and it looks like they keep it up well.